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Cloud Computing

Nov 18, 2011 11:45 AM, By Mark Mayfield

Is it ready for AV control?


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That’s what Oakland, Calif.-based Cloud Systems is betting on. “We are completely independent of hardware-based AV control systems,” says Cloud’s chief finance and operating officer Cheryl Blain. One of the company’s core products, atmospherics 2.3, is a software-based tool that allows network administrators to take control of any IP-addressable device, anywhere on their network, without a dedicated AV control processor.

“A deployment would involve taking the licensed atmospherics software, installing it on a server, and configuring it through the administrator interface. Just add the devices you want to control. It’s a simple as adding a printer to your network.” The company creates and provides drivers for many AV devices to work with several different interfaces that are already part of the enterprise landscape, including the Cisco Cius tablet and the Cisco IP phone. In addition, you can access atmospherics from any web browser.

Cloud-based AV control has several hurdles to overcome before it can become mainstream. Device driver availability (does a driver exist?) and network access for AV devices (does it have an Ethernet port?) are two issues. A third issue may be more thorny: acceptance of the idea of less hardware, more software. In the IT world, this issue is all but resolved. But the business model of most traditional AV integrators and manufacturers is built on hardware-based, on premise systems.

Technology managers looking to move to a more cloud-based AV and IT infrastructure should carefully explore the “as a Service” intentions of their AV suppliers.

Getting Your Customers Up to Speed

The more your customers know, the better you can serve them. This is especially true when it comes to the emerging and often misunderstood topic of IP-based control of AV systems. With computers and IP-based workflows proliferating in the working world, it is easy for end-users to make assumptions about how AV and IT can or should work together. But controlling AV is not the same as browsing the Web or using an iPhone, no matter how much user interface design suggests that with look and feel.

The Technology Manager’s Guide to IP-based AV Control is an essential primer for end-users and tech managers looking to increase their understanding of IP-based control and how it can impact a facility’s budget. This guide, from our sister publication AV Technology, covers a group of introductory topics on the intersection of AV and IT.

The guide explains the origins of IP, with a brief history that helps explain why the transition of IP protocols to AV is a challenge, covering the common protocols including TCP, UDP, IP, ICMP, and DHCP and the differences between IP control vs. IP signal delivery.

Author Tim Kreidel digs into specifics for the AV industry with a detailed discussion of current offerings in IP-based control, the pros and cons and user interfaces, as well as a breakdown of common types of control signals including RS-232C, RS-422, RS-485, RF, wired and wireless RI, and variable voltage and mechanical contact closures.

The guide also includes a definitive comparison chart of current IP-based control solutions from companies including Altinex, AMX, Barix, Bitlogix, Calypso, ClearOne, Cloud Systems, Crestron, Extron, FSR, Global Cache, High Resolution Systems, NetStreams, Pivod Technologies, SP Controls, and Vity Technology.

The helpful tutorial discusses how to verify an IP address. The guide contains key insights from Evolve Technologies’ Dave Sobel and Control Concepts’ Steve Greenblatt. Read the pros and cons of IP control of AV and consider sharing this resource with your customers. Download this free guide.

Sources: Trends in Cloud Computing 2011, published by CompTIA, and National Institute of Standards and Technology.



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